British television horror anthology series
Mystery and Imagination is a British television anthology series of classic horror and supernatural dramas. Five series were broadcast from 1966 to 1970 by the ITV network and produced by ABC and (later) Thames Television.
- 1 Outline
- 2 Episodes
- 2.1 Series 1
- 2.2 Series 2
- 2.3 Series 3
- 2.4 Series 4
- 2.5 Series 5
- 3 Archive status and availability
- 4 References
- 5 External links
The series featured television plays based on the works of well-known authors such as Robert Louis Stevenson, Bram Stoker, Mary Shelley, M. R. James, and Edgar Allan Poe. All bar one of the first two ABC series starred David Buck as Richard Beckett, originally a character from Sheridan Le Fanu’s story “The Flying Dragon”, as narrator. Beckett was made the central character of the series, taking the roles of various characters from some of the original stories. The first two series, although transmitted as two separate runs, were recorded in a single production block. The episode without Buck (“The Open Door”) features Jack Hawkins in the lead. Unlike BBC dramas from the period, location exterior shots were also recorded onto video tape rather than 16mm film, giving a more consistent look to the production. Only series 5 was filmed in colour.
Archive status and availability
Of the episodes from the ABC era, only the versions of “The Fall of the House of Usher” and “The Open Door” (series 1) have survived. All the other episodes from the first three series are not known to exist, although the Thames episodes (series 4 and 5) survive. A brief clip from Casting the Runes (from series 3) also exists. Domestic audio recordings of the otherwise missing episodes “The Lost Stradivarius”, “The Body Snatcher”, “The Tractate Middoth”, “Lost Hearts”, “The Canterville Ghost” and “Room 13” also exist.
Network has released all eight remaining episodes on a four disc DVD set along with the surviving clips of ‘Casting the Runes’.
- Wheatley, Helen. Gothic Television (Manchester University Press 2006) p36 ff.
- Thumim, Janet; Helen Wheatley. “Mystery and Imagination: Anatomy of a Gothic Anthology Series”. Small Screens, Big Ideas: Television in the 1950s. I.B.Tauris. pp. 165–179. ISBN 1-86064-683-2.
- Mystery and Imagination at TV.com
- Mystery and Imagination on IMDb
- Haunted TV.
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